RegionsLibya Middle East North Africa
ArticleFeb 28, 2023
There is no democracy without civil society
By Karim Mezran and Elham Saudi
Twelve years after the Libyan uprising, we are at a crucial point on Libya’s road to democracy. Now more than ever, it is important that civil society is at the heart of the approaching electoral process and future governance.
Karim Mezran is director of the North Africa Initiative and resident senior fellow with the Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East Programs at the Atlantic Council focusing on the processes of change in North Africa. As a distinguished Libyan-Italian scholar, Dr. Mezran brings enormous depth of understanding to the transition in Libya and elsewhere in the region. He is the co-editor of three volumes published with Dr. Arturo Varvelli of the Italian think tank ISPI entitled Foreign Actors in Libya’s Crisis (2017), The Arc of Crisis in the MENA Region: Fragmentation, Decentralization, and Islamist Opposition (2018), and The MENA Region: A Great Power Competition? (2019). He is the co-author of a book on Libya in Italian, entitled Libia: fine o rinascita di una nazione? with Dr. Varvelli (Donzelli Editore 2012). He is also the author of a book in English on the identity crisis in the Middle East and North Africa, entitled Negotiation and Construction of National Identities (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2007). His analyses on the Middle East and North Africa also have been widely published in Italian- and other-language journals and publications. From 2002 to 2012, Dr. Mezran was the director of the Center for American Studies in Rome. Additionally, he has taught courses on the history and politics of North Africa as an adjunct professor of Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Dr. Mezran holds a PhD in international relations from SAIS at Johns Hopkins University; a JD in comparative law from the University of Rome (La Sapienza); an LLM in comparative law from The George Washington University; an MA in Arab studies from Georgetown University; and a BA in management from Hiram College.